macdonald and company
macdonald and company

BTR - How Residential Property Management Professionals Transition

11 June 2019
Zack Wine our consultant managing the role
Author: Zack Wine

Tips for Lettings Managers & Property Managers to Join This Fast-Growing Sector

The build-to-rent (BTR) sector is the fastest-growing sector in the UK residential market. Yet it is still relatively immature. As such, it offers immense opportunities for professionals in the traditional lettings model to transition to the thriving BTR sector. Such a move could catapult your career in a sector that expects to have at least £146 billion of investment committed to it by 2025.

The stunning growth of BTR is good news for many professionals who are likely to see job opportunities in traditional lettings stagnate, as increasing numbers of private landlords exit buy-to-let. We are already witnessing interest from professionals including AST property managers and people with lettings experience showing real interest in transitioning to BTR.

Here I share three top tips to help you if you considering taking a new Build to Rent job and making the move.

The BTR Sector Needs Talented Professionals

To meet its growth projections, the BTR sector will need talented professionals with experience in residential property management. Without these people, growth will be unsustainable.

Analysis by Knight Frank concludes that more than half a million extra households will be renting by 2023, while suggesting that the number of individual buy-to-let landlords will continue to fall. Currently, there are around 30,000 professionally managed units in the BTR sector. Another 110,000 are being built or in planning.

CBRE’s Residential Investment Marketview Q1 2019 report shows there was more than £1 billion invested into the UK’s BTR sector in the first quarter of 2019. This is four times the amount invested in the sector during the same period a year earlier. Figures from the British Property Federation puts the number of BTR units either in construction or planning at 140,000.

Investment into the sector is being led by international investors. North American funds have been particularly active in London, while European institutions have been more active across the whole of the UK. Investors such as Realstar, Henderson Park, Greystar, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, PSP Investments, and QuadReal Property Group have committed investment to buy or develop thousands of BTR units.

How BTR Differs to Traditional Lettings

BTR is particularly attractive to institutions who need yield to pay out on long-term investments such as pension funds. BTR is single ownership of residential schemes, managed by a single property management company on their behalf or even managing internally.

Institutions have tremendous firepower, and can invest billions in these schemes, while taking advantage of economies of scale to maximise returns from the growth in the rental sector. BTR management fees are considerably lower than for a corresponding BTL property.

BTR schemes are fitted out for multiple family living, with facilities that might include communal spaces, gardens, laundry rooms, gymnasia, Wi-Fi, etc.

The Challenge of Transitioning to BTR

Transitioning from your current role to a new job in the BTR sector will present challenges. It’s likely that you possess many transferable skills – such as communication, time-management, collaborative skills, prioritisation, and negotiation skills. However, you will also need to identify sector-specific skills needed to work efficiently and competently in your new role.

Build to Rent Sector Jobs

Transitioning to BTR Tip #1: 

Prepare to be More Knowledgeable Than Your Competition

To put yourself ahead of your competition for an exciting new role in BTR, you must identify what skills you lack, and work to close this gap in skill set. Additionally, increase your knowledge of BTR. Learn who the main players are, what their specific investment strategies are, and where they operate. Keep abreast of industry news by setting up Google alerts.

In your interview, show that you have transferrable skills by framing answers with evidence of your achievements. Work in your knowledge of current market conditions and developments. If challenged about any skills shortages, show that you have already identified the shortfall and are working to fill it.

Transitioning to BTR Tip #2:
Prepare for a Sideways Step & Kick Your Ego Into Touch

One of the most difficult things about transitioning into a new sector is understanding that your accomplishments in your current sector may not be as highly valued. You may have done similar tasks and had similar responsibilities, but your lack of specific sectoral experience is likely to mean that you must make a sideways move.

This is alien to the natural course of a career. For most professionals, moving jobs is compelling because it offers a step up – not a step sideways – in career progression.

When transitioning to BTR, deflate your ego and be prepared to move sideways in your career. Focus on the long-term goals when planning your career path, and ensure that you embrace a learning mentality. Your drive, ambition and talent will come to the fore as your career takes on a new growth path in line with the growth in the BTR sector.

Transitioning to BTR Tip #3:
Talk to People Who Know the Job You Want

If you are considering switching to a new sector, then it is imperative that you understand what your new role and responsibilities will be. The most effective way to do this is to speak to people who know the job.

Use your social media accounts to grow your network and connect with relevant people at your target organisations and in your target roles. (Read our article discussing 10 tactics senior planners use to succeed on LinkedIn to help you create a career-enhancing social media strategy.) but also, speak with specialist Build to Rent recruitment experts.

Transitioning to BTR Tip #4
You Can’t Swim The Channel Unless You Walk Off the Beach

Switching to a new career path or transitioning to a new sector can be a difficult decision to make. It is natural that you will want to be certain about the move before committing. However, the fear of change can lead to making no change and you missing out on the perfect opportunity for your career. A cross-channel swimmer trains hard to reach their goal. Unless they walk off the beach and into the water, they won’t achieve their goal.

If you’ve followed the tips above, you are prepared to make the transition. All you need to do is take that one remaining step. To learn about the most exciting opportunities for property managers and lettings managers in the BTR sector today, contact me at the Real Estate Services Team here at Macdonald & Company – the RICS’ preferred recruitment partner.

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